Red Wings Report: 2002 Draft Review

By Zoran Manojlovic

This years draft has been known as weak, not many top prospects, not very deap… and as if that wasn`t enough the Red Wings didn`t even have a first round pick. But who cares when you get a potential superstar in JIRI HUDLER in the second round, 58th overall! GM`s and scouts are allways talking about picking the best player avaliable in the draft and man oh man did the Wings get the best player avaliable this year! If this is not a steal than I don`t know what is. I and many others had projected to see Jiri get drafted around 10-15, but not 58th. But Jiri wasn`t the only player that was drafted by the Wings in Toronto, we got 9 more players, 1 goalie, 4 defensmen and 5 forwards. I think that Wings did a good job last saturday and sunday, not only by drafting Hudler, but also by adding well needed help at D and up front.

Review

1. Jiri Hudler

Position: C
Team: Vsetin, CZE
Born: 4 Jan 84
Height: 5-9
Weight: 176
Shoots: L
Draft: 2nd round 58th overall
Grade: 8.5

Central Scouting Rank: 3rd in EU

Jiri is a dazzling puckhandler with phenomenal offensive arsenal. He is a very good skater with exceptional passing skills. He possesses rare hockey sense and sees the ice very well. He has good scoring instincts with a quick accurate shot that he is willing to use in all situations. He is a great leader and hard worker which he showed at this years U-18 WJC. The downside is his small frame, (5`9, 176), but he is only 18 years old. Although he will never be a big player, he will sure add some inches and pounds and be a 5`11, 185 pounder class player. Scouts also question his defensive game, but who cares about that. He will not be the next Kris Draper, HE IS AN OFFENSIVE PLAYER!

Drafting Jiri was a gift from above, and even if he never ever makes one shift in the NHL, he will be worth it becose you simply can`t pass on this super talent. But the Wings shouldn`t be the only ones that are be happy with this, I belive that Hudler himself can be glad that he was drafted by Detroit becose thay will allow him to take his time and devalop in Europe and grow and become stronger before coming over. It can take one or three,four years but the point is that Detroit can afford it while some other teams as Nashville, Anahaim, Calgary and so on can`t afford it and thay would have put to much pressure on him if he had gone in the top10-15. The final word is that it`s unbelivible to have a player like Jiri Hudler in your deapth chart and it will be great to follow this young prodigy on his way to NHL.

Potential: Potential superstar.

2. Tomas Fleischmann

Position: C/RW
Team: Vitkovice, CZE jr
Born: 16 May 84
Height: 6-1
Weight: 172
Shoots: L
Draft: 2nd round 63rd overall
Grade: 6.5

Central Scouting Rank: 39th in EU

Detroit didn`draft one single Russian this year, but thay got two Czechs, is this the new strategy? Tomas Fleischmann is an flashy winger with great offensive tools. He playes a high speed game with a lot of skill involved and is exciting to watch. His great hockey sense and hands allow him to create quality chances for both him self and his linemates. Although being a good playemaker, Tomas is more of a scorer and he he uses his shot often to prove that. The scouts doasn`t like his defensive game, but once again who cares about your defensive game if you are good offensively, he is not going to be a Selke winner. I agree that you have to be awere of the defensive zone but I`em sure that Tomas will be a solid two-way player in the future, maybe not like Sergei Fedorov, but solid.

Detroit seems to like small skilled players that play a high speed game, look at last years first pick, Igor Grigorenko and now Jiri Hudler and Tomas. I think that he was a good pick becose of his offensive qualities and his potential. The best thing for Tomas would probably be to come over to the CHL becose he playes for a top team in the Czech Elite league and he will have a hard time of getting quality ice-time so therfore CHL could be the answer.

Potential: Potential 2nd line offensive winger.

3. Valtteri Filppula

Position: C
Team: Jokerit, FIN jr
Born: 20 Mar 84
Height: 5-11
Weight: 175
Shoots: L
Draft: 3rd round 95th overall
Grade: 6

Central Scouting Rank: 40th in EU

Valtteri is a very good skater that playes a competitive game with a big heart. He is a good offensive player with solid overall skills although his numbers didn`t show that this year in the Finnish junior league. He possesses good hockey sense and soft hands. Valtteri is a very dependable player who is awere of his defensive responsibilities as a center. The downside is his small frame, (5`11, 175), but once again he is just a kid and I`em sure that he fill grow and fill up before he comes over, if he ever comes.

Valtteri was a suprising pick to me especially as Detroit didn`t have a third round pick this year but thay chose to swich next years third rounder for this years so that thay could grab Valtteri so I belive that the Wings see something in him. Let`s hope so.

Potential: Potential 3rd line two-way center.

4. Johan Berggren

Position: D
Team: Kristianstad, SWE 3
Born: 18 Mar 84
Height: 6-3
Weight: 182
Catch: L
Draft: 4th round 131st overall
Grade: NR

Central Scouting Rank: NR

Johan played in the second junior league in Sweden from where not many players get drafted, but Johan did. He is a big mobile defensamn with good offensive instintcs. He has good hockey sense and sees the ice well.

Johan was definitlly a surprise to me especielly in the 4th round. But the the Wings like his potential and maybe he can devalope into a servicable defensman, but I`em not sure that he will. In an interview Jim Nill said, “We’re very high on this guy,”. “He was playing in a low junior league that really wasn’t being seen by anybody. Our scouts did a good job in unearthing him. We think he’s going to be on their world junior team next year.” First of all he will need to get to a better team that plays in a higher league before I can judge him.

Potential: Unknown

5. Logan Koopmans

Position: G
Team: Lethbridge, WHL
Born: 18 Mar 84
Height: 6-2
Weight: 182
Catch: L
Draft: 5th round 166th overall
Grade: 6

Central Scouting Rank: 8th (NA)

Logan is well sized goalie who covers the net well and possesses great reflexes. He is very quick and has solid positioning. He is very competitive and works hard to improve himself and he will need that if he is going to take his game to the next level.

Logan was highly ranked prior to the draft but slipped all the way to the 5th round, 166th overall where Detroit took him. Jim Nill`s comment on Logan was, “He has good size, we like how he competes,” “He had a badly pulled groin the last half of the year and kept playing through that.” As most of you know he has been playing with fellow Red Wings prospect, Tomas Kopecky this year and I`em sure that the Wings got a good look at him as they were scouting Tomas all year long. Logan has had a good season and is now the no.1 goalie in Lethbridge and should have a breakthrough season depending on how good team Lethbridge will have next season.

Potential: Long term project.

6. James Cuddihy

Position: C
Team: Shawinigan, QJMHL
Born: 22 Apr 84
Height: 6-3
Weight: 197
Shoots: L
Draft: 6th round 197th overall
Grade: 5.5

Central Scouting Rank: NR

James is a good sized center with with impressive hockey sense and passing skills. He has nice, soft hands and is abel to get through traffic. He play a sound positional game away from the puck and is awere of the defensive zone. He is a solid skater with quickness but lacks speed and is not a physical force although having a huge frame. Jim Nills comment on James, “We like his size (6-3, 194) and his competitiveness,” Nill said. “He works hard, he’s improved his skating. We need some size.”

James was a highly touted prospect at the start of the season after being drafted as no. 4 in the 2000 QJMHL draft, but his stock fell as he was not abel to put up imressive numbers this season in the Q. Cuddihy said after the draft: “I didn’t perform the way I wanted to this season. Maybe this vote of confidence will help me out.” He was also playing at the Top Prospects game. Look for him to have a big season next year as he takes on more responsibilities on the team.

Potential: Potential 3rd, 4th line checker.

7. Derek Meech

Position: D
Team: Red Deer, WHL
Born: 21 Apr 84
Height: 5-11
Weight: 185
Shoots: L
Draft: 7th round 229th overall
Grade: 5.5

Central Scouting Rank: 101st in NA

Derek is a highly skilled defensman with superb offensive arsenal. He possesse great skateing ability with phenomenal speed and letheral movement and is willing to join the offensive attack. He has strong passing skills and a well devaloped hockey sense that allows him to make key plays on the power play. He has a hard accurate shot with a quick release. The downside is his small frame, (5`11, 185), but as I have said many times before, we will have to check on him in three, four years again before talking about size and strenght becose he is a junior player and will not play in the NHL next season. He will have to work on his positioning in the defensive zone.

Derek is another highly touted prospect that was drafted no. 9 in the 1999 WHL Bantam Draft by the Red Deer Rebels. He put up solid numbers this year and could have a big year in the WHL next year with Red Deer Rebels. He has the skills to make the NHL but he will need to continue growing and become

stronger and better defensively if he is going to make the next level.

Potential: Top 5 D-man with PP ice-time.

8. Pierre Olivier Beaulieu

Position: D
Team: Quebec, QJMHL
Born: 22 Apr 84
Height: 6-3
Weight: 185
Shoots: L
Draft: 8th round 260th overall
Grade: 5

Central Scouting Rank: NR

Pierre is a well sized defensman with good passing skills and mobility. He has a good hockey sense and reads the play well. He has a big frame that he uses to his advantage in the defensive zone. Pierre is a stay-at-home defensman who plays a simple game.

According to Christian Gagne, he will need to add more aggressivness to his play and fill out his frame which could make him one of the more complete defensive
defensmen. He is a long term project that could eventally devalope into a servicable stay-at-home defensmen that are well needed.

Potential: Servicable stay-at-home defensmen.

9. Christian Söderström

Position: F
Team: Timrå, SWE
Born: 22 Apr 80
Height: 6-1
Weight: 176
Shoots: L
Draft: 9th round 262nd overall
Grade: NI ( Not Important )

Central Scouting Rank: NR

Christian is a small speddy player with agressivness. He is a solid scorer and a good team player. But his scouting report is not that important becose he will never play in Detroit. He has been drafted for only one reason, he is a good friend of Henrik Zetterberg and will keep him company in his rooki season in NHL. I most say that this was a great move by Ken Holland. Now that Detroit has it`s own farm team in Grand Rapid Griffins which are located near Detroit thay will ship Christian over there to play and he will keep Henrik company so that he doasn`t feel lonely.

10. Jonathan Ericsson

Position: D
Team: Hästen IK, SWE 3
Born: 22 Apr 84
Height: 6-4
Weight: 190
Shoots: L
Draft: 9th round 291st overall
Grade: 4.5

Central Scouting Rank: NR

Another Swede that was unknown to all the people except the red Wings scouting stsff. Not much to say about him rather than he has good size for a defensman and that Wings like his skills. Håkan Anderssons comment, “He’s very mobile. Has soft hands. He played in Junior B, so he has never been tested. Has high skills. Just taking a chance.”

He playes also in a poor league and will need to get to a better league before seriousley being called aprospect.

Potential: Unknown

Detroit has done a good job this year of drafting highly skilled players that have had a tough year but who have potential like, James Cuddihy, Derek Meech (size) and Pierre Olivier Beulieau are the examples. I might sound a bit over optimistic but that is my poinion, I don`t say that all these players will play in the NHL and be great players but I belive that some of them have the potential to reach tha NHL as solid players.

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